University of Regensburg
Faculty of Languages and Literatures
Department of English and American Studies
PS Morphology and word-formation in English (WS 2020/21 and SoSe 2021)
The way English words are created seems to be an intriguing mystery, which can only be solved by reading and learning as much as possible about the formation of words. In this course students will be made familiar with the well-known but also unusual properties of the ways in which words are built in English. For a start, we will give an overview of the main categories of word-formation, such as compounding, conversion and affixation. Then we will look at less prominent types that have become rather trendy in recent years (back-formation, clipping, blending, abbreviation), especially as regards their use by the media.
All categories will be documented by a sufficient number of examples, which are drawn from dictionaries and computer corpora such as the NOW Corpus, the iWeb Corpus, the British National Corpus, the Corpus of Contemporary American English and GloWbE (Global web-based English). Recently, the pandemic gave rise to the compilation of the Coronavirus Corpus, which is continually recording the social, cultural, and economic impact of the virus. In an additional section different approaches to word-formation will be dealt with and students will get an insight into the methodological problems of obtaining and analyzing relevant data drawn from various sources. Finally, we will put the traditional distinction between British and American English to the test. In this respect, English as a global language will be dealt with, too.
Requirements are two presentations in class, regular attendance and participation, as well as a written exam. Depending on the situation in the winter and spring, there may be some last-minute changes.
The seminar will be largely based on:
Bauer, Laurie and Rodney Huddleston. 2002. “Lexical Word-formation.” In Huddleston and Pullum, eds. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: University Press, 1621-1721.
Plag, Ingo. 2018. Word-Formation in English. Cambridge: University Press. (2nd ed.)